Sunday, April 29, 2012

3KCBWDAY7: Crafting Balance

This blog post is part of the 3rd Annual Knitting and Crochet Blog Week:


Introduction to the topic:

Crafting Balance: Are you a knitter or a crocheter, or are you a bit of both? If you are monogamous in your yarn-based crafting, is it because you do not enjoy the other craft or have you simply never given yourself the push to learn it? Is it because the items that you best enjoy crafting are more suited to the needles or the hook? Do you plan on ever trying to take up and fully learn the other craft? If you are equally comfortable knitting as you are crocheting, how do you balance both crafts? Do you always have projects of each on the go, or do you go through periods of favouring one over the other? How did you come to learn and love your craft(s)?


Let's face it: I'm a crocheter. Always have been, and always will be. Comparing crochet and knitting is - to me - like comparing the English language to the French.
I feel comfortable with English, after all it's everywhere: on the Radio and on TV, most people speak English, I've learned it early at school, and travelled to Great Britain and the USA. John is an American from Detroit, so we frequently speak English at home, too. I'm reading English books, I'm watching American movies, and I'm writing this blog in English. Of course I'm making mistakes (understanding and speaking English is so much easier than producing grammatically and orthographically correct sentences in written form!), but I know I'd find my way around in the English language - just like in crochet.

My ability to knit is comparable with my ability to speak French: I've learned it but it was hard. I've enjoyed it (in a way) but I've never felt comfortable with it. Unfortunately I've forgot most of the things I've learned. I know the basic knitting stitches, but that's it. Everytime I've tried to knit something, I was afraid to make a mistake, because I wouldn't know how to correct it and would have to call my Mom for help. My French? I remember some basic words and expression, that's all. Recently John had been on a business trip to France and I called him every night at the hotel, asking the receptionist (in English) to put me through to John's room. On the last day, I suddenly heard myself speaking French! The words just came out of my mouth, and in the middle of the sentence I panicked because I had no idea how to finish it. So I just interrupted myself, laughed nervously and switched back to English. See? French language = uncomfortable, nervous and insecure = Knitting.

This is actually all there is to say about today's topic, but since it's the last day of this Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, why not do a little summary of the past week?

It started on Monday with the topic "Color Lovers". I showed you my stash of Catania yarn and a little flower garland I made, using almost every color in my stash. Thank you for your suggestions about yarns and online suppliers!

On Tuesday (Photography Challenge) I took you for a walk through the k-town woods. Your comments were overwhelming and I'm so happy that you've enjoyed this post!

On Wednesday we were supposed to write about "Your Crochet Hero", and of course I've picked my grandma again, focusing on her biography this time.

On Thursday I've picked the Wildcard topic, "Craft Your Perfect Day", imagining how great it would be to receive some parcels of goodies...



Friday had been "Something A Bit Different", so I let my little Frosta stool tell you the story of her magical transformation into Frostarella.

Yesterday (Saturday) I made some lists about "Improving my Skillset", talking about the skills I've already learned and about some future plans.


If you'd like to check out more highlight's from this Blog Week, I recommend Kathryn's Pinterest board "Best Photos from Knitting and Crochet Blog Week" and Eskimimi's board "Pictures nominated for the Blog Week Photography Challenge"

This week was so much fun for me!! I've tried to write interesting posts and take some pretty pictures, I had lots of new visitors on my site and on the other hand I'm excited that I've found new and inspiring blogs, which I'll definitely visit in the future, too. All in all it was a GREAT experience!!

Hope you've enjoyed this week as much as I did,

have a great and sunny sunday!



Saturday, April 28, 2012

3KCBWDAY6: Improving Your Skillset

This blog post is part of the 3rd Annual Knitting and Crochet Blog Week:


Introduction to the topic:

Improving Your Skillset: How far down the road to learning your craft do you believe yourself to be? Are you comfortable with what you know or are you always striving to learn new skills and add to your knowledge base? Take a look at a few knitting or crochet books and have a look at some of the skills mentioned in the patterns. Can you start your amigurumi pieces with a magic circle, have you ever tried double knitting, how's your intarsia? If you are feeling brave, make a list of some of the skills which you have not yet tried but would like to have a go at, and perhaps even set yourself a deadline of when you'd like to have tried them by.


There are three words that I really liked in the introduction above: make - a - list. I love making list! So why not make three lists about my crochet skills? Here we go:

In my childhood I've learned...:
  • the basic stitches, like sc's, dc's and trebles, but also front and back post stitches or reverse sc's
  • the basics of Filet Crochet (had to learn it at school but was never really enthusiastic about it)
  • to work mainly with acrylic yarn and a 3.5mm hook
  • how to make basic granny squares and join them to a blanket:
  • how to make simple potholders
  • how to make a weird looking snake (I've found this creature in my parents' spare room recently):

  • how to make what we've called "bed socks" (half socks, half slippers) - damn, I haven't made them for years, maybe I should see if I still know how to do it?
  • how to do Wiggly Crochet (although I didn't know back then that it was called Wiggly Crochet):


In the past twelve months I've learned...:
  • to understand (and distinguish) the US and UK crochet terminology
  • to crochet around stones:

  • how much fun it is to work with cotton yarn
  • to start motifs with a magic ring
  • to start a crochet piece with a chainless foundation
  • more crochet stitches: puff-, popcorn-, leaning tower-, star-, surface- or the bullion stitch
  • that there are more ways to make a granny square that I had ever imagined
  • to make amigurumis:
  • to work with a double ended hook (Crochenit)
  • to work with a hook and a broomstick (Broomstick Lace)
  • to design my own patterns:

In the future I'd like to... :
  • have a go at freeform crochet:
  • try a little yarn bombing somewhere:


  • learn another lesson from "Crochet Master Class" (like Painted Crochet):
  • design more patterns

Oh, by the way - another thing I've learned: the longer I've got a crochet plan in my mind, the more likely it is, that I won't start it in the near future :) And the freeform, the yarn bombing and the painted crochet are in my mind for a long time now, which means it'll stay there a little bit longer, I guess.

Instead, I'll probably discover something new and exciting soon, and won't go to bed before I have given it a try - those are my favorite projects, the ones that won't let you sleep at night. Can't wait for the next adventure! :)

If you're not participating in the Blog Week, maybe you'd like to leave a comment here, letting me know which skills or techniques you'd like to learn in the future, I'd love to read your thoughts!

Want to check out more "skillful" posts? 3KCBWDAY6 is your (google-)code for today!

Hope to see you tomorrow for the final day of this terrific week :)


Friday, April 27, 2012

3KCBWDAY5: Something A Bit Different

This blog post is part of the 3rd Annual Knitting and Crochet Blog Week:


Introduction to the topic:

Something A Bit Different: It's back, and this time it has the most amazing of prizes (look for the prize for 'most creative post'). This was a massive success last year, and for many it was the highlight of the Blog Week, so this year you are challenged, again, to find a new way of blogging.
This is an experimental blogging day to try and push your creativity in blogging to the same level that you perhaps push your creativity in the items you create.There are no rules of a topic to blog about but this post should look at a different way to present content on your blog. (...)




Hi, my name is my name was Frosta. I've got lots of sisters and they're all named Frosta as well, and look exactly the same. We're actually from Sweden, but we're spread all over the world - maybe you've got a Frosta somewhere in your kitchen, too? Today I want to tell you how I turned from Frosta into - Frostarella...

Some weeks ago, I was lying around (bored as usual) in my cozy shelf no.10, when a girl from k-town came strolling down the aisle no.16 at IKEA Poppenreuth, Germany. "I'm gonna make you a pretty dress, little Frosta", the girl whispered softly. Okay, she didn't say it aloud, but I'm sure that's what she thought! Anyway, she pulled me out of my shelf and brought me to her home in k-town and started my make-over. First, the girl named Barbara made me a colorful cotton dress - Barbara worked without a pattern, just making up the design as she worked along, so it's truely unique...


Oh, how pretty! I never had a dress before! And I've never heard of one of my sisters having a dress either! I was happy and actually thought that's it, but then Barbara whispered gently "Stockings, little Frosta! You need some pretty stockings... or maybe rather Capri leggings?" Okay, of course she didn't really say it (but she could have, honestly!)


Now I had a dress and some Capri leggings!! I especially love the cute little buttons that Barbara added to the legs, don't you?


I'm probably the happiest Frosta that has ever left Sweden!! Thank you Barbara for turning me into Frostarella - now all you have to do is find me a prince who'll bring me some shoes. Chop-chop!


If you like my magical transformation from Frosta into Frostarella, please head over to Eskimimi Makes and give Barbara the thumbs-up!

Today's unique tag is 3KCBWDAY5 - please check out more "a bit different" posts on google!



From k-town, with love,

Barbara

Frostarella

Thursday, April 26, 2012

3KCBWWC: Craft Your Perfect Day (Wildcard Topic)

This blog post is part of the 3rd Annual Knitting and Crochet Blog Week:


Introduction to the topic (Wildcard Topic):

Craft Your Perfect Day: Plan your fantasy day with your craft, It might just take up one hour of your day or be the entire focus of the day, but tell your readers where you'd love to craft, whether you'd craft alone or with friends, knitting or crocheting something simple or spending a day learning new skills. 


I've decided to pick the Wildcard Topic today: The actual topic ("A Knitter Or Crocheter For All Seasons?") just didn't apply to me, and the Wildcard Topic was just too good to be skipped completely!

So, let me just close my eyes for a moment and imagine my perfect day for crafting... okay, let's go:

Since it's a perfect day, it would be a day off from work of course. Or a Saturday with all the work in the house and the week-end shopping being done already. Oh yes, that's good. As much as I love having John around me: on this perfect craft day he'd be out fishing and just stopping by in the afternoon before he'd go to his football match. Now I can make myself comfortable in the living room, spreading out my stuff all over the sofa and the table (or rather: spreading out my stuff without somebody complaining...)

I'd possibly start with browsing Pinterest and my blogroll to see what everyone else is working on right now, probably finding some inspiration, maybe even finding new blogs or other craft sites.

Oh wait, I forgot that it's a perfect day, and on a perfect day the postman would bring at least three parcels: some new crochet books, lots of new yarn, and a few other supplies, like buttons, beads and some nice fabric patches. I love opening those parcels, don't you?



Finally I'd grab a hook and just make whatever I'm in the mood for. Maybe some more motifs for the Challenge?



Maybe designing a new pattern? I'm totally into making mandalas recently, crocheting round by round, without a plan in my mind, just playing with colors and stitches...



On a perfect day there'd be a marathon of my favorite sitcoms on TV: How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory, stuff like that. When I'm crocheting, I always need a relaxing TV programme running in the background, something that doesn't need my complete attention. I could spend the whole afternoon like this! What kind of "background" do you need? TV? Music? Some people you can talk to while crocheting? Silence? An interesting question, I'd love to read your answers!

Even perfect days fade to an evening... John would come home, probably injured from football again (hey, it's my perfect craft day, not his perfect football day, right?), but happy that his team has won. We might go out playing Poker, and of course I'd take my crochet equipment with me, like I often do. Most of our Poker friends are used to my strange habit on the table now, but I bet there's at least one drunken and annoying guy (even on a perfect craft day) who's bothering me all night long:

Him: What are you knitting? 
Me: It's crochet. 
Him: My Mom used to knit a lot! 
Me: Oh, uhum. 
Him: There's nothing better than knitted socks. 
Me: Uhum. 
Him: Can you knit some socks for me? 
Me: Hell no, why should I??? 
Him: Last time I asked, you promised me you would! 
Me: What?? I don't know who promised you this, but it definitely wasn't me! 
Him: Okay... what are you knitting anyway? 
Me: I'm not knitting, it's crochet!!! 

Honestly, conversations like these have already happened for real!

It would be a great night, John and I would play lovely hands and win great pots, I'd have a Bailey's on ice and a cup of hot chocolate with cream - it's funny what details pop up in your mind when you're imagining a perfect day...

When I look back, I realize that I already had lots of semi-perfect craft days (honestly, who ever gets three parcels with goodies on one day??), and I'm looking forward to more of them in the future.

If you'd like to read about other perfect days, just start a google search with the wildcard code: 3KCBWWC

Or maybe you're more interested in today's actual topic, "A Knitter or Crocheter For All Seasons?" - then this is the code for you: 3KCBWDAY4

Can't wait until tomorrow - it might be "a little bit different..." :)


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

3KCBWDAY3: Your Knitting or Crochet Hero

This blog post is part of the 3rd Annual Knitting and Crochet Blog Week:


Introduction to the topic:

Your Knitting or Crochet Hero: Blog about someone in the fibre crafts who truly inspires you. There are not too many guidelines for this, it's really about introducing your readers to someone who they might not know who is an inspiration to you. It might be a family member or friend, a specific designer or writer, indie dyer or another blogger.(...)


Another perfect topic. In fact, this topic is so important to me that in the past I have already blogged about my personal Crochet Hero twice to introduce you to my Grandma and her crochet (Part 1 - Part 2)


Cushions

If you go back to those posts, you'll find lots of pictures of her work and just a little bit about my Grandma as a person. Today let's do it like this: I tell you more about my Grandma's (non-crochet) life and show you her work once again in mosaic-form.

Toys

My grandma was born as Maria Winkler in Neu Ullersdorf in 1912. The region where she was born is part of the Czech Republic, but at that time (long before the two World Wars) it had been inhabited mainly by Germans. In the early 1930s she married my grandfather, Franz Langer. Together they lived in Spornhau (Ostruzn√°) on a farm that had belonged to my grandfather's family, they even had their own stone quarry on their property. In Spornhau my grandparents had five children: one daughter and four sons, one of them was my father (*1944), he was the youngest one until then.

My grandparents with their seven children. My father is the one standing in the 2nd row right in the middle behind his parents


My grandfather Franz didn't fight in World War II, because he was one of the farmers who stayed behind to take care of the farms of the men who went to war. After the end of the war (1945), the German families in that area were expropriated and driven away from their homes, and my grandparents had to leave everything they couldn't carry behind. The legend goes that my grandfather buried their dishes and crystal glasses in the garden and the barn, hoping they might come back home one day. They never did.

The family came to Northern Bavaria and lived in an old school building in Thailenhofen for a few years. There they had two more children, another son and another daughter. My grandfather worked for a demolition squad that defused bombs and ammunition of the war. The job was well paid, so in 1955, my grandparents were able to build a new house in Ellingen, a small town not far from Thailenhofen. In their new home, my grandma had another girl, but the baby died the same day. Her name was Barbara and I was named after her. Maybe I've also inherited the crochet genes that would have been hers, who knows?

my Grandma at home in Ellingen

Home Decor

When I asked my father what hobbies (other than crochet) my grandma had, he said gardening and picking hops. I've learned that my grandma loved to work at the neighbours' farm - not for free, though: she got manure for her garden and a sack of potatoes in return ;)

my grandma and my father


Over the years, "the children" moved out and started their own families. My father met my mother and moved to k-town, where she was born and where we still live today. My aunt Traudi (I've blogged about her crochet before as well) stayed with her parents and still lives in the house in Ellingen.

Blankets

In 1983, my grandfather died. I can't remember much about him, because I was only four years old back then. My grandma Maria died in her sleep in 1994, one day before Christmas Eve.
my grandparents, the way I remember them

Now that was a lot of family talk, wasn't it? I've enjoyed this little detour today, even though I think I've missed the topic a little bit. For more crochet talk about "my crochet hero", please visit my earlier posts here and here.

If you'd like to meet more knitting and crochet heroes, start a google search with today's unique code: 3KCBWDAY3

Thanks for visiting k-town today,


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

3KCBWDAY2: Photography Challenge Day

This blog post is part of the 3rd Annual Knitting and Crochet Blog Week:


Welcome to the second day of this blog week, and an extra warm welcome to my new visitors - thank you so much for your enthusiastic comments about yesterday's post!

Introduction to the topic:

Photography Challenge Day: Today challenges you to be creative with your photography, and get yourself in with the chance to win the photography prize. Taking interesting photographs in this instance isn't about flashy cameras or a great deal of technical know-how, it's about setting up a story or scene in a photograph and capturing something imaginative. Your photograph(s) should feature something related to your craft, so that might be either a knitted or crocheted item, yarn, or one of your craft tools. One example of setting a scene would be to photograph a girl in a knitted red cape walking through the woodlands with a basket of goodies, as in the Red Riding Hood tale, or you might photograph a knitted gnome hiding among the flowers in your garden. Photo editing is permitted for competition photos.

This is a topic I was really looking forward to, although I must admit that I was a little anxious as well. "Improving my photography skills" was on my New Year's Resolutions list, but I hadn't done anything so far yet. So last week-end, I grabbed some of my crochet items, my camera, my bike and my John, and together we've tried to combine a little bit of k-town scenery with my crochet - after all, the name of this blog is still "made in k-town", right? Please make yourself comfortable and enjoy

A Spring Walk Through The K-Town Woods...

♥ "Lost my heart in k-town" ♥
 "Faith - Love - Hope"


I hope you've enjoyed this little walk through k-town, this is something I had in mind for a while and today's challenge had been the final push. I'm not quite sure if we were supposed to take only one picture, but actually I don't care: these topics should just provide a starting point and the interpretation of the topic is up to the bloggers. And this photo series is exactly what I wanted to do for today. :)

Today's unique tag is 3KCBWDAY2. Just type this code into google and you'll find more photography challenge posts.

Thanks for visiting today, see you tomorrow!


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